Treating common cold involves relieving its symptoms. This can be done with the help of some over-the-counter medicines and at-home self care.
Over-the Counter Medication for Cold and Flu
The most widely used medicines for cold are:
Painkillers- Ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin are the likes of medicines known to be effective in treating cold. However, children below the age of 16 and lactating mothers should not ingest aspirin and only age-appropriate versions of paracetamol and ibuprofen should be recommended. This usually is the liquid form. For correct dose of the medicines, stick to your doctor’s prescription or follow the manufacturer’s instructions word-by-word.
Ibuprofen and paracetamol should not be given together to children and either one should be used. A combination of both can cause severe side effects. Paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin are also included in some cold medicines with other ingredients. Check with your pharmacist or GP before taking a cold remedy if you're taking any other painkillers.
Decongestants- These are designed to reduce nasal congestion and have limited effectiveness against colds. They reduce the swelling in the passageways of your nose and help you breathe. It should be noted that their effect is only temporary and they provide relief for only a short period of time.
Decongestants are safe and rarely cause serious side effects. Their overuse for more than seven days can lead to severe congestion. These should especially not be given to children under the age of six.
Drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost due to sweating and a runny nose.
Get plenty of rest – there's no official guidance as to how long a person should stay off work or school. Most people know when they're fit enough to return to normal activities.
Eat healthily- a low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Inhaling steam helps ease congestion by loosening mucus and makes it easier for you to blow your nose. Gargling is another remedy for a sore throat which is a symptom of flu. Young children can also find relief with vapour rubs.
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